It Must Be Heaven, dir. Elia Suleiman, Denmark 2020, 102 min., English, Arabic and French with English subtitles, 12A
The line between fiction and autobiography remains as blurred as ever in Elia Suleiman’s latest feature, just his second since Divine Intervention won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2002. It Must Be Heaven sees the director leave his native Palestine for Paris and New York in search of funding and support for his latest film – but, perhaps, also looking for something more besides.
As ever, Suleiman himself is the focus on screen; and as ever, he is virtually mute throughout, passing through a series of staged episodes and choreographed tableaux with an air of studied bemusement. Wherever he finds himself, he often also finds echoes and fragments of Palestine – is he looking for them or are they looking for him? Dry, droll and elusively political, It Must Be Heaven is another satisfying entry in the catalogue of this singular filmmaker.
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